Although Elixir G's inventor is promoting his mix of pressed ginger root, lemon juice, and cane sugar as a cocktail enhancer, the liquid might be more useful after a drinking session.
Bill Tocantins of Santa Monica, Calif., sent me a bottle of Elixir G because the product was just picked up by Metropolitan Market. While I don't typically fuss with the samples sent my way, the bottle was on my desk after a weekend during which I had two out-of-town guests—and lots of whiskey to celebrate their visits. Remembering the candied ginger that was my companion for a painful month-long schooner voyage during which my seasickness never improved, I wondered if a swig of Elixir G would soothe my hangover symptoms. While the results didn't send me scrambling for my sextant, I felt much better post-quaff.
Tocantins says he's heard of other imbibers busting out Elixir G in the morning. "They use it for ginger tea," he says. But Tocantins would rather use his heady ginger mix for Cosmos and improvised ginger beer. "The main use is for cocktails," he says. "I'm trying to zoom in on which is most popular."
The mix was first concocted by Indian restaurant owners who lost their lease. When they moved to a new location, they inherited a liquor license and asked Tocantins to devise cocktails for the bar. He used a soda syrup they'd developed to flavor a ginger margarita. "People went 'Wow,' " he recalls. "A couple of people actually got out of their seats. I'd never seen that with a merlot or a vodka tonic." The restaurant owners weren't interested in marketing the mix, so "the greatest ginger adventure was born," Tocantins says.
Elixir G is made with Hawaiian ginger, which is cleaner than what comes from China, cheaper than what comes from India, and more consistent than Brazilian ginger. It was introduced three years ago in Los Angeles bars, and recently released for retail sale. Tocantins says the mix sold out when he sampled it at Met Market, which he hopes will be the first of many stores to carry Elixir G. "Getting distributors interested in a new product is like Columbus telling people the world is round," he concedes.
My advice is to play the hangover-recovery card. But that's not very creative compared to what other Elixir G fans have dreamed up, such as "a woman in Mammoth [Calif.] likes to scoop snow into a coffee cup, add Elixir G to it, and then sit in her hot tub."